What if you made the environment around you accommodative for everyone. What if you made sure no one is afraid to talk to you. What if you became sensitive enough to notice someone is not okay. What if you looked at them with empathy, love, understanding and not with judgy eyes. What if you spoke with kindness.
Sad and frustrated. Not knowing who to talk to. She finally gathered enough courage (enough to talk to one person) to talk to a friend (let’s call her Nancy). She broke down before opening her mouth to speak. It weighed her down(noticeably). From how the tears ran down like they were choking inside and finally got freedom to be let out. “Don’t cry, talk to me”, said Nancy.
With a sigh, she spoke, “Niko HIV positive, nimekuwa nikimeza ARVS, ziliisha two months ago na sijaenda kuchukua zingine. Nafeel nitakufa. (I am HIV positive and have been taking ARVs but they ran out two months ago.I haven’t gone to get more. I feel I will die.”
Mbona hujaenda upewe zingine na zinakuanga free? (Why haven’t you gone to ask for more, they are free) ” asked Nancy. Naogopa kuonekana nikizimeza na pia naogopa kuambia boss juu sijui ataichukulia aje nikimwambia naenda kuchukua ARVs, anaweza hata nifuta kazi juu mimi ni mboch (I am afraid to take them while being seen and afraid to tell my boss because I do not know how she will take it, she can lay me off because I’m the house manager? ).
It saddens thinking that one can compromise her health for what people will say. The society stigmatises HIV victims and the fight against it has failed to bear fruits. Victims are afraid to speak up and ask for help because they will be judged and stigmatised. We should start normalising certain talks among our peers and even among those older than us. It is not a crime to contract a disease. I wish for a free world where I can shout to someone on the other side of the road like “I forgot my ARVs, would you please wait for me to go pick them up” without being given who-in-the-world-is-this looks.
Nancy went with her to the hospital the next day to get the ARVs. A very good gesture.
To all victims please take it easy on yourself, however hard it might be. Accept and don’t live in denial. Be proud. Speak and whatever the consequence just know you got it.
What would you have done if you came to know your House manager is HIV positive? Will you lay her off or continue staying with her? Comment down below!